More than 70 local, state and national housing leaders came together at Bring Workers Home in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 2011. The regional forum was on the final day of Solutions for Sustainable Communities: 2011 Learning Conference on State and Local Housing Policy, a three-day national event hosted by the National Housing Conference with its research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy. The learning conference targeted addressing affordability and other sustainability issues, including energy efficiency and access to transit and jobs. The eighth in the program series, Bring Workers Home targeted identifying effective solutions to the workforce housing challenge.
Rents and home prices in the Washington area have fallen slightly since 2010, following a national trend but still remain among the nation’s highest, meaning many metro residents cannot afford to live in the communities they serve. Solving this issue topped the agenda at Bring Workers Home. The regional forum, sponsored by the National Housing Conference and National Association of REALTORS® brings together national, state, and local leaders to explore the issues and identify effective workforce housing strategies. NHC and NAR will host the third forum of 2011 in Portland, Ore. on December 1. Please visit NHC.org or www.realtor.org/housingforums for more information on the events.
The panelists in Washington shared ideas on creating, sustaining and advancing workforce housing both through public-private partnerships and privately funded employer-assisted housing programs, including efforts underway in Maryland, Virginia, the District, and Pennsylvania. Keynote speaker Dr. Hassan Minor, Jr., senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Howard University, provided a thoughtful overview of the Howard University/LeDroit Park Initiative, a long-standing employer-assisted housing program that has presented an opportunity to demonstrate that sustainable, comprehensive revitalization can be achieved in an urban area with private and public investment capital. The Initiative is the essence of economic development, and is a public-private partnership model that can and should be replicated in other D.C. communities.
The following regional and national partners were instrumental in helping plan this Bring Workers Home regional forum: Maryland Association of REALTORS®, the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®, the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, and the Washington D.C. Association of REALTORS®.